Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Joss Stone: Mind, Body & Soul [S-Curve, 2004]
Eighteen-year-old Joss Stone is cursed with a great voice--a plummy yet gritty thing of tremendous range and power. Hearing her try to make like Gladys Knight on 2003's Miami-funk-styled The Soul Sessions was like watching a 12-year-old with 36D's imitate Marilyn Monroe--sure some guys find it sexy, but they're perverts. For the rest of us, perhaps paradoxically, this album's compromise with the teenpop divahood she was groomed for will feel like an authenticity move. Stone's infatuation with band grooves provides relief from radio-ready synthesizers and compressors. And processed through an instrument more solid than Christina's or Pink's, song-doctored fabrications like Jet Lag and Don't Cha Wanna Ride split the difference between guaranteed hook appeal and a decent simulation of emotional truth. [Blender: 3]